FMCG logistics in MENA needs greater structure

Phil Showering, Mohebi Logistics’ new COO, shares his experience and vision about the direction that FMCG logistics services should follow in the Middle East

Pallet Power: What are your first impressions now that you’re inside Mohebi Logistics?

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Phil Showering: I’m absolutely delighted to join Mohebi Logistics. It’s exciting to see what the company has achieved in just four years and work with a team that is so results-driven. That’s a credit firstly to Mr. Mohammed Mohebi, who has such a clear vision about where we need to go.

In my five years working in Dubai, I’ve found this to be a very unique approach. There’s great cohesion and understanding here. I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities in helping Mohebi Logistics to further develop and grow into a regional player with international standards.

PP: You’ve spent 25 years in the Logistics and Supply industry. What changes have you noticed?

PS: The whole industry has become far more demanding. The requirements have shifted from fulfilling cartons to a store to undertaking Demand Planning, Sourcing and handling products coming to us from all over the world. At the top of the list is having a supplier with the capability to fulfill all of those needs. Mohebi Logistics is a good example of a local provider delivering international standards that can bring structure, speed of execution and continuously drive down costs.

PP: What are the urgent needs in our regional market that Mohebi Logistics can fulfill?

PS: To provide the kind of financial and business benefits that can stimulate profitable operations requires continuity, robust processes and extensive infrastructure. FMCG clients in the Middle East are as demanding as their European, Asian or American counterparts. They require the highest standards of customer service, delivery execution and cost awareness. But still many local 3PL suppliers don’t have the required capabilities. That’s why Mohebi Logistics is having the kind of impact it is in the local FMCG market.

PP: Looking over the broader Middle East region, what would you say are some of the biggest challenges facing the FMCG logistics industry right now?

PS: I see an indiscriminate application of laws and regulations that can have a significant slowing-down effect. In some cases, regulations have come into force overnight. Then there are the effects of local holidays such as Ramadan and Eid – it’s hard for our colleagues in Europe and North America to understand how such events can change consumer behavior. You need to be on top of the game, all the time. Your processes need to be adaptive, flexible and capable of changing at a moment’s notice – whilst still ensuring compliance as you deliver to customers the services that they pay for.

PP: Mohebi Logistics faces some large international players in the UAE. As the new COO, how can you help the company to stay competitive and appealing?

PS: I’ll be tapping into the strong dynamism that you find at Mohebi Logistics. The guys here are constantly trying new and innovative approaches and have the determination to be better than anyone else. We’ll be getting even closer to our customers. We’ll continue to develop and truly understand the key success factors that affect our customers. In this way, we can actually deliver what they must have – rather than what we (3PLs) think they want. In summary, it’s all about doing what we say in the time frame that we promise.